Can I get my security deposit and/or administrative fee back if I never signed a lease or was assigned to an apartment?

I submitted $135 in application fees as well as $150 in administrative fees and $300 deposit for a townhouse I was told would be ready by a certain date. I was then told I was not assigned to an apartment and one wouldn’t be ready for another month. After numerous unanswered phone calls I visited the complex only to be told conflicting stories and promised phone calls I never received. Most recently I was told that the apartment wouldn’t be available until a much later date. The manager told me I was never told the original move in date because no one knew when the unit would be ready.

Asked on July 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Legally, if the townhome was not ready when it was supposed to be, you would have grounds to terminate the transaction for material breach and get your deposit and fee back. Practically, if there is no written record or documentation of when it was supposed to be ready, it may be difficult to prove when it should have been ready--it may come down to whatever testimony you can muster on your side versus whatever testimony their staff will provide.

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